Sustainable Farming

Farming for the Future

Achieving a sustainable food system is critical to ensuring an abundant and healthy food supply for generations to come. While Maryland boasts a richness and diversity of sustainable farms, they make up a minority of agricultural operations in our state.

Maryland families want healthy, delicious, affordable local food, grown responsibly. Installing a fair system – one that rewards good stewardship and sustainable practices – is the best way to achieve this for Maryland’s future.

Sustainable Farming Defined Goat Eating Greens Shine and Rise Farm

  • Fair Farms considers sustainable farming to be the production of agricultural products in a way that:
    • preserves the environment on the farm and beyond;
    • enriches the lives of farmers, their communities, and the population as a whole; and
    • restores the health and welfare of farmed animals.

Sustainability in the Larger Food System

  • Sustainable agriculture doesn’t stop at the farm gate—it’s part of a larger sustainable food system. Sustainable food distribution systems rely on local or regional networks of sustainable farms.  Products are usually sold directly to consumers through farmers’ markets, consumer-supported agriculture, farm shares, and co-ops, or directly to restaurants, food services, and food hubs.
  • To successfully pursue sustainability, every farmer needs access to facilities and equipment to harvest, store, process, and sell their products in a fair and efficient way.

What do Sustainable Farmers Look Like?Workers at Shine and Rise Farm - May not be high enough quality

  • Visionary farmers who practice sustainable farming protect their waterways from runoff and erosion, care for their animals, raise food without harmful chemicals, and make the food available at local farmers’ markets.
  • They use techniques like regenerative farming, which produces healthy food while preserving or restoring the health of the soil. By using crop or livestock rotation, composting and other techniques, farmers can maintain a sustainable, pesticide-free environment on their farms.

Fair Farms celebrates farmers and businesses – small and large – that adopt visionary farm practices. Properly managing farmland means investing in practices and policies to preserve and restore farmland for the use, education, and enjoyment of future generations.

Latest Posts


  • Webinar: Supporting Sustainable Farmers During a Pandemic & BeyondWebinar: Supporting Sustainable Farmers During a Pandemic & Beyond
    The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the precarious nature of industrial agriculture and how the few companies dominating this sector often leave out contract farmers and essential workers at all levels of the supply chain. A resilient, equitable local and regional food system is more important than ever. This crisis offers us an ...
  • Press Release: Governor Vetoes Farm to Institution ProgramPress Release: Governor Vetoes Farm to Institution Program
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 8, 2020 CONTACT: Shelby Kalm, Fair Farms Campaign Manager, shelby@fairfarmsnow.org Governor Vetoes Farm to Institution Program — Governor Larry Hogan announced yesterday that he has vetoed legislation that requires increased spending – including the establishment of the Certified Local Farm Enterprise Program and Certified Local Farm Enterprise Food Aggregation Grant Fund ...
  • Living Local: Assateague FarmLiving Local: Assateague Farm
    This article was written by as part of the “Living Local: Small-Scale, Large Impact” project by Chandler Joiner, Environmental Educator at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. When driving down Assateague Road, it is difficult to miss the Assateague Farm roadside stand stocked full of produce, flowers, firewood, and handmade crafts. The stand is situated between a ...
  • Living Local: Cross FarmsLiving Local: Cross Farms
    This article was written by as part of the “Living Local: Small-Scale, Large Impact” project by Chandler Joiner, Environmental Educator at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. Carol Cross grew up in a farming family. She spent her childhood tending the family garden, canning vegetables for the winter, and watching her father and grandfather farm their 500 ...
  • Living Local: Masterpiece Flower FarmLiving Local: Masterpiece Flower Farm
    This article was written by as part of the “Living Local: Small-Scale, Large Impact” project by Chandler Joiner, Environmental Educator at the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. Masterpiece Flower Farm is a flourishing mother daughter cut flower production farm on the outskirts of Whaleyville, Maryland. Crystal Giesey and her mother, Misty Fields, began growing flowers as a ...

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